A Day Off


The most deceptive truth of being self-employed is that you can take time off whenever you want. The harsh reality behind it is that, pretty much, you never do. Being doubly self-employed at the moment (yeah, I need to tell y’all about that at some point) compounds the problem, as when you take time off from one job, you always use it to try and catch up with the other.

So I’ve been doing this two-step since late October, when I (figuratively) handed in my USAP badge and went solo. Farm, code, farm, code, farm, code, breathe, farm, then more code.


Well, this morning and I couldn’t take any more of it. Maria Popova* reminds us of Thoreau’s admonition to just go out and take a walk, dammit (not his exact words), which is just what I decided to do. The sun was just peeking through the fog (the sun?!?) as I swung the car southbound with some vague destination along the Olympic Highway.

Dosewallips State Park won on the first roll. Honestly, the main reason was that I’d always wondered how it was pronounced (doe-see-WAHL-ups, for the curious). I picked up a trail map at the ranger station and lost myself in a couple of hours of blissful solitary ramblings among moss monster forests, rhododendron groves and crackling streams.



Shipmate Jennie Mowatt tipped me off to the apparently infamous Geoduck Bar on the edge of town as a spot from which to chart my next move. Chunky clam chowder and ridiculously tasty hamburgers, with juvenile bald eagles checking you out from the trees surrounding the deck. I give it two talons up.


Jennie also tipped me off to Walker Peak a few miles to the north. It was an easy-access five mile out-and-back with 2000′ feet of vertical, boasting panoramic views of the Olympics to the west and Seattle, Rainier and the Cascades east and south – what’s not to like?

There’s something about the simple, repetitive process of putting one foot in front of the other that changes the way our brains work. Philosophers from Diogenes to St. Augustine to Nietzsche are all credited with the concept of “solvitur ambulando” – “it is solved by walking” – but I’m still astounded at the things you can figure out while simply plodding along a slope.



One of the things I figured out was that it is inadvisable to set off up a mountain after noon in winter around here without a flashlight. But the summit was glorious, I made it back down unscathed, and my head was immeasurably clearer for the trek.

Tomorrow it’s back to dealing with septic system and wetland permit paperwork, and keeping my websockets from throwing exceptions when the logger management page reloads. Tonight though, I’m going to just relish remembering how good a real day off really feels.

* If you don’t subscribe to Maria Popova’s “Brain Pickings” mailing list, then… well, just do, okay?

5 responses to “A Day Off

  1. Pablo, now you know why I left my love, my life in San Francisco to migrate to the Northwest, the hidden gem of the entire United States. There is simply nothing like it in the lower 48.


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